I first learned about gratitude during my darkest moment. I was destitute, depressed, partying and living fully in my victim after leaving my abuser. My sense of hopelessness was full-blown and I rejected anyone telling me that it would get better. During this time, my only truly good friend courageously challenged me. I remember the moment so vividly – the anger I felt towards her was intense, but her words had found a way to get inside my head and started my journey to wellness.
She said: “Susan, be grateful for what you have and stop focusing on what you don’t have.”
My reply: “Grateful?!?!? Are you $%@& nuts? Look at me! I have no home, no job, someone tried to kill me! I have nothing to be grateful for.”
She said: “Yes you do. You can be grateful you’re away from him and he can’t hurt you anymore. You can be grateful your little daughters are living in peace now. You can be grateful you have a new start.”
Okay, I’ll be honest, I hated everything she said but it made me think. It made me look at things differently. It was life-changing.
Now I am a firm believer in the power of Gratitude especially in times of darkness. I also hate winter – shivering, cold, dark winter.
My attitude of gratitude is strongest during the winter. It is what keeps me smiling and looking forward. It is a blessing to be able to look outside and be grateful. Otherwise I would probably get labelled with some debilitating disease.
In times of Darkness, there is always something to be grateful for. You may have to look a little harder, but gratitude is there.
Winter is long in Canada and cold. Yesterday it was -34C. I only took a short walk with the dog because the ground was too cold for his feet. As we walked in the bitter cold, I chose to focus on what I was grateful for.
This is what I discovered:
- The bright blue sky – it was stunning.
- My leg warmers – a last minute addition but they allowed me to climb snow banks and not get snow in my boots!
- Hot chocolate – yummy. Looking forward to a big cup at home.
- Smiles – even though it was freezing, I met others and we would share a smile and a frosty “Hi.”
- Crunchy snow – I love the sound.
By choosing to focus on things I’m grateful for I actually enjoyed my winter walk.
Gratitude is about finding the smallest hint of good in the bad, turning the negative into a positive, finding a hint of blue among the darkness. Start turning the darkness into light. Focus on what you are grateful for. Include things you take for granted – walking, talking, health, love, a home, heat, food.
One act of gratitude today will have a positive impact. One act of gratitude will grow into two and then three and then several. The best part – Gratitude is Free. Make a list of things you are grateful for – start a jar, a book, scraps of paper – simply start. You will be so grateful you did.
Practice gratitude. When you are challenged, think about something you are grateful for – going home, a delicious dinner, the sunshine. You’ll smile and your challenge will seem easier to handle.
Winter is here for a while. I will hold onto my Attitude of Gratitude to lessen the challenge of the darkness and the bitter cold.